Tennessee and the League of Nations, IV

Tennessee and the League of Nations, IV

By Ray Hill Tennessee’s senior United States senator, John Knight Shields, had surprised tens of thousands of his constituents and infuriated many members of his own Democratic Party when he had voted to add reservations to the Treaty of Versailles in the Senate.  The treaty was the culmination of months of torturous negotiations between the […]

Tennessee and the League of Nations III

Tennessee and the League of Nations III

Governor Tom C. Rye had run for the United States Senate in the 1918 Democratic primary against Senator John Knight Shields as a supporter of President Woodrow Wilson and lost. Rye’s defeat did not necessarily mean the people of Tennessee had turned against Wilson; in fact, had the President written the public letter denouncing Shields […]

Tennessee and the League of Nations II

Tennessee and the League of Nations II

By Ray Hill Colonel Luke Lea, away in Europe during the First World War, had never gotten along with John Knight Shields when they were colleagues in the United States Senate.  Lea’s newspaper, the Nashville Tennessean sided with Shields’ opponent, Governor Tom Rye in the Democratic primary.  According to Lea’s newspaper, Shields had made several […]

Tennessee and the League of Nations I

Tennessee and the League of Nations I

By Ray Hill Tennessee had been staunchly for Woodrow Wilson, both in his 1912 campaign for the presidency and his 1916 reelection campaign. Tennessee’s junior United States senator, Kenneth D. McKellar, had been a fervent admirer of President Wilson as a member of the House of Representatives and if anything, his admiration grew as a […]

Congressman Finis J. Garrett

Congressman Finis J. Garrett

By Ray Hill For more than two decades, Finis James Garrett represented a West Tennessee district in Congress. Garrett was a talented politician and his rise was meteoric. Winning a seat in Congress when he was barely twenty-eight years old, he rose to become the Minority Leader of the U. S. House of Representatives. Finis […]

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass, II

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass, II

By Ray Hill Ross Bass, for ten years a congressman from Tennessee’s Sixth District and U. S. senator for two years, was seeking to return to Congress in 1976. Bass had earlier announced he was done with politics after a disappointing defeat in 1974 for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Perhaps no politician in Tennessee’s history […]

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass

By Ray Hill The 1974 Tennessee gubernatorial campaign took a heavy toll on the finances of several aspirants.  Dortch Oldham, who had run in the Republican primary, acknowledged spending perhaps $300,000 of his own money to fund his campaign.  Oldham said, “I don’t believe anybody would do that if he ever sat down before the […]

The Last Vestige of the Crump Machine: Clifford Davis, Part II

The Last Vestige of the Crump Machine:  Clifford Davis, Part II

By Ray Hill Congressman Clifford Davis of Memphis had served in the House of Representatives since 1940 and in 1959 was the chairman of the House Public Works Committee.  A relatively obscure committee to most folks, it became of prime importance to Tennessee.  Davis was pushing a bill vital to the Tennessee Valley Authority, a […]